Timing & Performance

When a camera that appears to have as much in common with a Star Trek communicator as Sony's Alpha series DSLRs, you might not expect speed to be its prime directive. And perhaps it isn't but the T300 is pretty rapid, nonetheless. Even it its 'Is there a face? Has the user told me where to focus? Well, what's interesting?' focus mode, it's never so slow that it gets in your way.

Timing Notes

All times calculated as an average of three operations. Unless otherwise stated all timings were made on a 3264 x 2448 Fine JPEG image (approx. 4,000 KB per image). The media used for these tests was a 1GB Memory Stick PRO Duo.

Action Details
Time, secs
Power: Off to Record Until controls appear 2.3
Power: Off to Play Image displayed 1.7
Power: Record to Off All activity ceased 1.5
Power: Play to Off When buffer is empty 1.0
Record Review Image displayed 1.4
Mode: Record to Play Slide open 1.5
Mode: Play to Record Slide open 1.2
Play: Magnify To full magnification (8.0x) 2.7 *1
Play: Image to Image Time to display each saved image 0.6 *2
Play: Thumbnail view 3 x 3 thumbnails 2.6
Zoom from Wide to Tele 35 to 210 mm (6 x) 2.6
Half-press Lag (Focus time) Wide angle ~0.2
Half-press Lag (Focus time) Telephoto ~0.5
Pre-focus Lag (S1>S2) LCD live view ~0.2
Full-press Lag (0->S2) LCD live view, wide angle ~0.5
Off to Shot Taken LCD live view 2.5
Shot to Shot Flash off 1.8*3
Shot to Shot Flash on ( red eye reduction on / off) 2.8 / 3.5 *4
*1 Requires up to twelve presses on the touch-screen.
*2 With transition effects turned off - these increase the time
*3 Actual shutter lag appears to make up around 0.04 of this delay, with LCD lag making up the rest
*4 Flash recycle time will vary widely according to shooting distance and battery condition - at the long end of the zoom it can reach 5 or 6 seconds.

Continuous drive mode

High speed continuous shooting also isn't something you'd necessarily expect from the T300 and in this instances, your expectations would be confirmed. It manages 1.6 fps for its first six frames before the rate drops to around one frame every two second (0.5 fps). During this delay, the buffer empties enough to take another shot at full speed, giving a performance graph that looks like this:

Frame rate in frames per second is on the vertical axis of the graph and shot number is on the horizontal. Frame rate is established from the gap between shots, so the first indicated shot is second taken.

File writing / playback performance

It's impossible to establish how long the T300 takes to store an image, given that it has no indicator light. That said, the T300 uses Sony's proprietary Memory Stick format, so there's not much choice over card speed even if it were to make a difference. The camera takes about 3.5 second to return to its usual display after taking each 3.5MB image (though you can take another image after just 1.8 seconds) so it doesn't feel particularly speedy. The delay until normal display is shown extends to around 5 seconds if DRO is set to 'plus,' with a second shot possible after around 4.4 seconds. Playback is also far from snappy, with it taking around 0.5 second to move between low res previews and a further 0.5 seconds to render a full-res preview.

Battery life

The T300 uses a NF-FD1 Lithium Ion battery which, according to standard CIPA tests, should provide around 130 shots per charge. We have to assume that it's the large screen that's leading to this rather paltry figure. This short life span either means you'll have to get used to putting it on to charge, every time you've used it or having to fork out for a spare battery or two. Certainly traveling with the T300 would be a disappointing experience.